A native New Yorker, George always loved music. He grew up with rock’n’roll and R&B but in his teens, he also developed a powerful passion for jazz — especially the big band styles of the pre-World War II era.
This passion continued into his time at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Already a jazz musician himself (demonstrating a flair for showmanship on his stand-up double bass!), George successfully created a big band music hour for the school’s radio station. Off-air, he often spoke of his true long-time dream: leading his own big band.
The station manager asked George to interview William “Count” Basie before a campus concert in 1979. This inspiring conversation changed George’s life… the very next day, he reached out to fellow jazz players to create a 17-piece big band, which quickly became a darling of the campus community.
Throughout the ‘80s, with the blessing and counsel of Mr. Basie himself, George honed his craft, spreading the gospel of swing throughout the Pittsburgh tri-state region. He returned home to New York City in 1990, and gathered top New York-based musicians — including veterans of the world’s most legendary big bands — to continue living his dream.
Music by the George Gee Orchestra sets new standards for modern big band performance, elegantly balancing genuine traditions with exhilarating modernism. This versatile swingin’ ensemble can deliver everything from a sweet foxtrot ballad to rock and soul party favorites to all-out rollickin’ roadhouse boogie!
A few notable career highlights have included: Playing at Ozzy Osbourne’s 50th birthday party in Beverly Hills. Being the first modern-era swing band welcomed from the West to perform at a swing dance event in Japan. Quincy Jones summoning the band to perform for the Royal Family of Jordan. And so many more!
“We’ve traveled a long road – many long roads, literally and figuratively – and I’m proud to say that today, swing music, jazz and the big band art form are not only alive and well, but enjoying their widest popularity since their heydays,” George says.
As the world’s only Chinese-American swing big bandleader, George has a unique cross-cultural perspective that creates a particular interest in bridging differences among all the people worldwide who enjoy this music and the vintage context.
Also, George loves big band music even when it’s not his own band playing. He’s a popular and skilled swing music DJ with an extensive collection of recordings perfect for parties, dances and special events. Learn more about DJ George Gee.
On a related note, George is proud of his stature as an authority on swing-era music and history. He has lectured at the New School University, led clinics and master classes, and is a popular source for reporters, bloggers and TV productions on the subject.